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Last updated on May 15th, 2024

How much does air conditioning installation cost?

With summers in the UK becoming increasingly hot, more and more British homeowners are installing air conditioning systems in their homes. In this air conditioner installation cost guide, we look at average prices in the UK.

Fast Facts

  • An average 12000 BTU wall-mounted unit costs around £618 - £890, plus £904 - £1,302 for installation
  • Air conditioning engineers typically charge around £500 - £720 per day
  • Your total air conditioner cost will vary based on factors like the size of your house and the type of system you choose

Fed up of your home feeling like a furnace during summer months? With increasingly warm summers and more frequent heat waves, air conditioning could be the answer. Here, we’ll look at the typical air conditioning installation cost to help you budget.

Psst! For the purpose of this guide, we’ll focus on wall-mounted and ducted air conditioning systems rather than the portable units you can buy and plug in.

How much does it cost to install air conditioning in the UK?

On average, a 12000 BTU wall-mounted unit will cost £618 - £890, plus installation costs which will be around £904 - £1,302.

ItemUnit of MeasureAverage cost
Ducted ceiling mounted units (cost of unit) - Costs depending on brand
12000 BTUPer unit£989
18000 BTUPer unit£1,243
24000 BTUPer unit£1,446
Labour to install (per unit)Per unit£1,750
Wall mounted units (cost of unit) - Costs depending on brand
12000 BTU, fixed to masonry wallPer unit£742
18000 BTU, fixed to masonry wallPer unit£932
24000 BTU, fixed to masonry wallPer unit£1,085
Labour to install (per unit)Per unit£1,150
Portable units (cost of unit) - Costs depending on brand
12000 BTUPer unit£350
14000 BTUPer unit£450
18000 BTUPer unit£650
Sundry costs
DuctworkPer m£175
Fittings. Tees, Bends etc£270
Plenum Box£289
Grilles with Damper 450mm x 450mm£274
Roof Extract Units£339
Attenuator 2m long for ductwork up to 800mm£236
Air Conditiong Labour Cost per dayPer day£600
Notes
The costs per unit, will go down the more units installed at the same time
Ductwork and fittings need to be added to the ceiling mounted units
Each of the wall and ceiling mounted AC Units costs, include a condenser unit, which needs to be installed externally
Electrical Costs need to be added. A fused spur internally and a IP rated switch externally will be required. The cost of this is difficult to cost accurately, but will be between £400 - £700
The size of the room will determine how many BTU's are required to cool the room, which in turn will determine the size of the unit required

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

That said, the cost to install air conditioning in a house in the UK will depend greatly on the house itself and the type of air conditioning system you want to install.

Air conditioner cost calculator

The best way to calculate the cost of installing an air conditioner is to work out which spaces in your home you want to be able to keep cool.

Once you know the number of rooms that need an air conditioning unit, and their sizes, a local expert will be able to give you an accurate air conditioning cost.

Domestic air conditioning installation quotes

We always recommend obtaining at least three quotes from our trusted tradespeople.

Our request a quote feature is perfect for getting quotes. You post details about the job you need doing and we’ll send it out to local tradespeople in your area. Try it out!

Alternatively, enter your postcode into the search box below to browse a selection of the best air conditioning installers near you.

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How much does air conditioning cost for different types of systems?

There are a few options when it comes to installing an air conditioner in your home. Each type of system comes with its own pros and cons. And each comes at a different price point.

The key types of air conditioner systems are:

  • Split air conditioner
  • Ducted air conditioner
  • Portable air conditioning unit

Split air conditioner installation costs

Wall-mounted air conditioners, commonly known as split air conditioners, are the most popular type of air con found in homes.

They consist of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is usually fitted on a wall above head height, where it circulates air over a refrigerant to cool the room.

You can also get multi-split systems, where several indoor units connect to one outdoor unit to cool multiple rooms.

If you’re opting for a split air conditioner unit, the labour cost will be around £958 - £1,380 per unit.

Pros

  • A very efficient way to cool air
  • Doesn’t take up any floor space
  • Generally an easier retrofit than a ducted system

Cons

  • A large fan unit has to be fitted to the exterior of the property
  • Not as discreet as a ducted system

Air conditioning engineer installing system

Ducted air conditioning installation cost

Ducted air conditioning systems are the most expensive option. But they’re also the most discreet, making them ideal for homeowners who want their air conditioner to blend in as much as possible.

A ducted system has a fan that is attached to the exterior of the home. Then, instead of using a wall-mounted unit, the outlet is ducted to the ceiling.

The average ducted air conditioning cost is around £1,458 - £2,100 for labour.

Pros

  • Most discreet air conditioner option
  • Can easily be installed for one room or split into numerous controllable zones
  • Quietest of the systems
  • Ideal for larger homes

Cons

  • Not all properties will have the ceiling space for this system
  • Most expensive option to install
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Portable air conditioner price

The cheapest and easiest type of air conditioning system for your home is a portable (or ‘freestanding’) air conditioning unit.

These units don’t require any installation. Instead, they can just be bought off the shelf and plugged in. They often come complete with a drain hose or exhaust duct to expel moisture via an open window.

To buy a 12000 BTU portable air conditioning unit, you’re looking at around £350.

Pros

  • Doesn’t require installation
  • Can be moved from room to room
  • Can be put away when out of use

Cons

  • Costs more to run than a fixed unit
  • Not suitable for large rooms
  • Can be noisy
  • Less effective at cooling than fixed systems, especially in hot climates
  • Requires more maintenance
  • Collects condensate in a tray which needs to be regularly emptied

Air conditioner installation hourly rates

Air conditioning installers tend to work via a day rate or will quote for the total cost of the installation rather than hourly rates. The average day rate is around £500 - £720.

If you need your air conditioner to be repaired, however, that work is often charged at an hourly rate plus any callout fee for the job.

How long does aircon take to install?

Exactly how long it takes to install aircon in your home will depend on the size of your home and the type of air conditioner system you choose.

That said, it should take roughly one day to install a single unit. Alternatively, you’re looking at closer to a week for multi-room systems – or longer for larger homes and complex systems.

Factors affecting your home air conditioning UK cost

There are lots of different factors that can affect the cost to install air conditioning in a house in the UK.

Size of your house

The more rooms that you want to cool and the bigger those rooms are, the higher your air conditioning installation cost will be.

For instance, if you want to benefit from air conditioning in several rooms, you’ll need more than one unit. So, your costs will quickly add up.

Type of air conditioner system

As we’ve already covered, the type of system you choose will have a big impact on your total air conditioning price.

Remember, the average 12000 BTU wall-mounted unit will cost £618 - £890, plus £904 - £1,302 for installation.

Meanwhile, you could pay just £350 for a 12000 BTU portable system, with no installation necessary. The difference is vast.

Quality of air conditioner unit

The better the quality of your air conditioner unit, the higher your price will typically be.

Just bear in mind that better-quality systems are likely to last longer. So, you should hopefully recoup your costs in the long run.

Features available

In the modern world we live in, your air conditioning unit could do more than simply cool your home.

Depending on the system you choose, you could benefit from features such as:

  • A remote control
  • Timers
  • Night mode (eg. for noise reduction)
  • Dehumidifier function
  • Multiple fan speeds
  • Heating mode

You could even invest in a system with an app, so that you can control your air conditioning from your phone.

Of course, the more features your air conditioning system offers and the more advanced they are, the higher your costs will usually climb.

Homeowner operating aircon via remote control

Location

Like any home improvement or renovation project, your location will have a large impact on your air conditioning installation cost. This is because labour costs vary widely across the UK.

Generally speaking, homeowners in the North will pay significantly less than in those in the South.

In particular, you can expect the air conditioner price in London to be noticeably higher than in the rest of the UK.

To get an accurate air conditioning installation cost, get in touch with our reliable air conditioning companies near you.

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Other air conditioner costs

Now you have a good idea of how much air conditioning is in the UK. But there are some other air conditioning prices you should know about before investing in your system.

Running costs

As a rough guide, the cost of running an air conditioner unit will range from around 10 pence to 25 pence per hour of operation.

However, the exact cost of running your system will depend on lots of different factors, including:

  • The type of air conditioning system
  • Its age
  • Its efficiency
  • How long you run it for
  • How well insulated your property is

There are also several steps you can take to reduce your running costs. These include sealing your windows to keep cool air in, investing in a smart thermostat, and properly maintaining your air conditioner. Which brings us onto…

Maintenance costs

Keeping your air conditioner in good working order will help to increase its longevity and efficiency, saving you money in the long run.

As a general guide, an air conditioning engineer will usually charge around £30 - £60 per hour to service or regas an air conditioning unit. You’ll also need to budget for the cost of the refrigerant and any replacement parts needed.

With that in mind, you can generally expect to spend around £70 - £120 per unit on air con servicing costs.

The cost of supplies

Last but not least, don’t forget to budget for the cost of supplies.

This includes coolant. It may also include batteries if your air conditioning unit has a remote control.

Refrigerant typically costs between £35 - £130.

Useful air conditioning checklist

  • Start by deciding which rooms of your house need air conditioning
  • Measure the size of your rooms to help calculate the BTU output required to cool them
  • Speak to local air conditioner experts to get their advice and accurate costs

Don’t worry, a local air conditioning installer will be able to help with all these steps. Remember, they have all the tools, knowledge and experience to be able to recommend the best system for your needs, as well as to install your aircon.

Ready to find reliable air conditioning companies near you? Enter your postcode below to get started.

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FAQs

How much does AC cost to install UK?

Exactly how much AC costs to install will depend on lots of different factors, like the size of your home and the type of air conditioning system you choose.

That said, you’re looking at installation costs of around £904 - £1,302 for a wall-mounted unit. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the unit itself too – a 12000 BTU wall-mounted unit typically costs around £618 - £890.

Is it worth getting air conditioning in UK?

Yes! Extreme heat events are set to become more frequent and severe in the UK (according to LSE).

Not only do summer temperatures affect our sleep, but with more and more of us working from home, they affect our productivity too.

With that in mind, we think that air conditioning is well worth investing in to climate-proof your home.

Why is air conditioner installation so expensive?

Your air conditioning installation quote may be expensive if you’re hoping to install a ducted system and you don’t have existing ductwork.

Installing the ductwork can be labour-intensive as these systems are designed to be completely consealed – often in a suspended ceiling or on the ground.

Does air con use a lot of electricity UK?

How much electricity your air conditioner uses will depend on the type of air conditioner you have, its size and how well insulated your home is.

As a rough guide, you can expect a ducted system to use between 3,000 and 3,500 watts per hour.

On the other hand, portable units can consume anywhere between 2,900 and 4,100 watts per hour.

Is air conditioning expensive to run UK?

It’s hard to say how expensive air conditioning is to run in the UK. This is because your running costs will vary based on lots of different factors, like the current cost of electricity, the type of air conditioning system you have and how old your air con is.

That said, as a ballpark estimate, the cost of running an air conditioner unit will range from around 10 pence to 25 pence per hour of operation.

Can I install air conditioning in my flat UK?

Absolutely! Just bear in mind that you may need to get permission from the freeholder in order to install the external condenser on the outside wall of the building.

Similarly, although most properties will be able to install air conditioning without planning permission, if you live in a city-based apartment you’re likely to need planning permission for this same reason.

If you have trouble getting the necessary permissions then don’t panic. Water cooled air conditioning units can be installed fully on the inside of your property, without the need for an external condenser.

Get in touch with an air conditioning specialist near you to talk through your options.

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What others think of this article:

Edmund Porter

This cost guide for air conditioner installation is extremely helpful! It provides valuable insights and considerations for homeowners who are planning to install a new air conditioning system.

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